Tag Archives: crisp

What To Make When You Buy A Thousand Peaches: Peach Crisp

21 Jul

Simultaneously a simple and complicated dessert.

I went to the farmer’s market this week. Since we’ve been out of town, it’s felt like ages since I had myself a good peach (okay, it was eleven days). Also, it was my birthday and I felt indulgent. So not only did I buy a week’s supply of perfect peaches (both white and yellow), I also picked up a quarter-bushel of seconds. Well, I think it was a quarter-bushel. Look, I don’t actually know how much a bushel is, but it was one of those pretty wooden baskets that’s the smaller size but not the smallest size. And it was four dollars, and one of them is the size of Nimitz’s head.

I figured if I had two thousand peaches, I would feel okay about cooking some instead of greedily slicing them and stuffing them into my mouth. (I slice them first because I get organic produce, and I like to see the bugs before I bite into them, thanks.) So that’s what I did. Well, first a couple got sacrificed to the Beast Within, but then I figured I’d better bake some of them. I found a suitable recipe in Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food (a lovely gift from the cast of Barack Stars, which gets broken out whenever I have a super-simple thing I want to make but am not quite sure how), and made the crisp topping yesterday.

DAIRY ADJUSTMENTS:

The only dairy adjustment I had to make was swapping out Earth Balance for butter, which at this point I consider to be not an adjustment at all. If you’re dealing with nut allergies, you should adjust the crisp topping accordingly — maybe add some oats instead to help absorb moisture. And if you’re dealing with a gluten issue, I’d say go with a cobbler instead and use your favorite gluten-free biscuit recipe on top.

I also added oats to the topping because oats make me think I’m eating healthy, although I forgot to add them while mixing and instead just sprinkled them on top. And bourbon, because you can’t have cooked peaches without bourbon.

Served elegantly in… a bowl. Look, I’m working on the whole presentation thing, but plating is an entirely different matter. Besides, we were ready to just veg in front of Netflix by that point, so don’t judge me.

RECIPE:

Topping (makes 3 cups):

  • 1 cup nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)

Chop in food processor. Then add:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Process until mixed, maybe one or two pulses. Add:

  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter (or butter substitute, aka Earth Balance), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup oats (optional)

Pulse a few more times to combine, so that it’s still grainy, not a thick dough. Toss in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Can be refrigerated for a week-ish, frozen much longer.

Filling:

  • 4 ripe peaches, or however many it takes till it looks like it’ll fill your dish.
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp (-ish) brown sugar
  • splash of bourbon (I just used Jim Beam)

Pit and peel the peaches (She recommends a quick dip in boiling water to get the skins off more easily. I don’t know what’s wrong with her California peaches, but my Maryland peaches peel with absolutely no trouble), then cut into bite-sized chunks.

Toss the peaches with flour, brown sugar, and bourbon, and put them in your baking dish. Top with the crisp mixture (you don’t have to use all of it), and sprinkle a few more oats on top just to be thorough. Bake for 40-45 min at 375°F (See Notes), or until the crust starts to turn golden and you just can’t stand it anymore.

NOTES:

I forgot to add oats while mixing the crisp topping, so I just threw a ton on top. We liked it, but wanted more oats (thus the adaptation to add 1/4 cup in with the crisp topping).

Next time, I would also change the crisp to peaches ratio. This one turned out about one to one, but the peach juices also bubbled over, which means the dish really couldn’t handle any more. If I had a deeper dish, I might use more peaches and match it to the full crisp recipe.

Our oven is notoriously unreliable — the knob has almost no relationship to the temperature inside the oven. So throughout baking, I check every 15 minutes or so to make sure the thermometer inside the oven is near where we want it. For instance, for this recipe we wanted a temperature around 375°F, so we set the dial between 250 and 300 (yes, I purposely omitted the degree symbol, since those numbers clearly have nothing to do with temperature).